Foundation to Honor National and Local Women Changemakers at Event

Arizona Foundation for Women (AFW) will honor Grammy- and Emmy-nominated musician, author and humanitarian Sheila E., and advocates for Arizona women, Debbie Nez-Manuel and Dr. Candace Lew, at the upcoming Silver Soirée.

Sheila E. will receive the 2022 Sandra Day O’Connor Lifetime Achievement Award; Debbie Nez-Manuel will receive the Voice of Women award; and Dr. Candace Lew will receive the Marilyn R. Seymann award.

The three awards will be presented at the Foundation’s Silver Soirée on Thursday, March 17, 2022, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Soirée will be held at Chateau Luxe, 1175 E. Lone Cactus Dr. in Phoenix. The Silver Soirée is co-chaired by Juliet Burgess and Brooke Levy, and local philanthropist Billie Jo Herberger as distinguished honorary chair.

“AFW is immensely proud to recognize these trailblazing women for their dedication to communities far and wide,” said Mesha Davis, CEO of AFW. “Sheila E., Debbie and Candace are exemplary individuals who have dedicated their lives to ensuring the safety, health and economic empowerment of all women.”

Sheila E. is regarded as the “Queen of Percussion” in reference to her decades long musical career, working as a solo artist and with numerous legendary musicians in various genres. Sheila E. has been just as instrumental in making meaningful progress on gender and racial equity. Through her advocacy and awareness surrounding gender inequality in the music industry, to being television’s first female musical director (for Magic Johnson’s “The Magic Hour”) and her philanthropic work as co-founder of nonprofit Elevate Oakland, Sheila E. demonstrates passion for women’s safety, health and economic well-being.

Debbie Nez-Manuel is a longtime community leader and activist. She is a profoundly impactful advocate for people of color in urban, rural, and remote communities around Arizona. Debbie grew up on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona and has an exceptional understanding of the complexities surrounding the victimization of Native American women and girls. She was instrumental to the unanimous passage in the Arizona Senate and House of HB 2570, monumental legislation establishing a 21-member Study Committee on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The bill was the first of its kind in the nation, and other states are following suit.

Nez-Manuel is Tséníjíkiní – a Navajo clan also known as the Cliff Dweller People. She is born for the Tsénahabiłnii, Sleepy Rock People. She is the maternal grandchild of the Tsi’naajinii, Black Streaked Forest People and the paternal granddaughter to the Tábąąhí, Waters Edge People. Nez-Manuel originates from the Navajo Nation and grew up in Klagetoh Arizona. Today, she resides in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Candace Lew, MD is a leading public health professional in Arizona specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. She has over 25 years of experience in domestic and international activities related to reproductive and maternal health, contraception and community mobilization. After many years of serving the community through her successful OB-GYN practice, Lew returned to Johns Hopkins University to earn her Master’s degree in Public Health.  Not content with the inequities on maternal health locally and globally, Lew spent several years traveling around the world to deliver family planning services and training frontline clinical workers in less developed countries.

The Silver Soirée is AFW’s premier awareness and fundraising event. Attendees will dance, dine and meet inspirational women and men from across Arizona and beyond. Most importantly, they will raise funds in support of programs and services that address the Safety, Health and Economic Empowerment of women in Arizona. The money raised will be directed to women’s leadership development, community education, and financial empowerment. The highlight of the event is the recognition of three inspiring individuals for their lifetime work benefiting women.

Learn more about AFW’s Silver Soirée and to purchase tickets, tables or sponsor the event here.

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